Friday, January 30, 2009

Primary health care-based approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights

As we celebrate the 30th year anniversary of the Alma Ata declaration on Primary Health Care, and as the debate on reproductive health continues, HAIN is proud and happy to publish this material entitled, “Primary Health Care Approach to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.”

The comprehensive primary health care (PHC) approach articulated at Alma Ata remains as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. Certainly, sexual and reproductive health and rights are integrated in the concepts of primary health care.

The PHC approach has provided the shift in perspective from a medicalized and biomedical framework to a more sociopolitical-cultural and biopsychosocial approach to health.

The principles of PHC clearly embody the role of social determinants in health, ie, poverty, inequity, social injustice, as factors lying outside the medical and public health services that strongly determine health. As we look at the experiences of countries, it is evident that countries which achieved the more lasting improvements in health were those with a commitment to equitable development.

It is on these premises that the focus on sexual and reproductive health should not be on population control or sex act itself (as is the direction of the current debate), but on population as it relates to poverty, environment, education and other social issues. The campaign for the recognition of sexual and reproductive health and rights should be seen in the over all pursuit of human rights, including the right to health and the right to development. These rights can only be attained if we struggle against unequal and unjust social, economic and political structures which are the root causes of poverty, ill health, and underdevelopment.

HAIN hopes that that material will provide our readers this perspective.

-- from the preface of the book by Dr. Edelina de la Paz, Executive Director of HAIN

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